Citation. 517 U.S. 620, 116 S. Ct. 1620, 134 L. Ed. 2d 855, 1996 U.S.
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Brief Fact Summary.
Several municipalities in Colorado had passed legislation that banned discrimination against homosexuals in housing transactions. The Petitioner, Romer (Petitioner), was not leased an apartment by the Respondent, Evans (Respondent) because of his sexual orientation. Meanwhile, the state passed legislation that denied homosexuals protected class status.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
If a law neither burdens a fundamental right nor targets a suspect class, the legislation is constitutional as long as it bears a rational relation to some legitimate state interest.
Colorado passed a constitutional amendment that repealed all prior provisions that designated homosexuals as protected class for Equal Protection purposes.
Petitioner was denied housing because of his sexual orientation and brought a claim against Respondent under the municipal code. But, the Respondent defended citing the newly enacted state law.
By singling out a group and denying them the protected class status has the Colorado amendment violated the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution (Constitution)?
Yes. A law declaring that it shall be more difficult for one group of citizens than all others to seek aid from the government is a denial of equal protection in the most literal sense. Amendment 2 classifies homosexuals to make them unequal to everyone else and does not further a proper legislative end.
The majority is bending the Constitution to fit the current fashion of including homosexuals as part of the protected class. Judicial precedent indicates that the states have always been free to enact laws barring certain groups from preferential treatment. The group’s recourse is to petition the lawmakers to amend or repeal prior acts.
The majority indicates that this amendment results in discrimination against a group because it singles them out and denies them protection of the law. The law is too broad to be held useful to achieve any goal. This is the exact type of action that the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution (Constitution) is supposed to thwart.